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Annu Rev Entomol. 2007;52:127-50.

Changing paradigms in insect social evolution: insights from halictine and allodapine bees.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide S.A. 5001, Australia. Michael.Schwarz@flinders.edu.au


Until the 1980s theories of social insect evolution drew strongly on halictine and allodapine bees. However, that early work suffered from a lack of sound phylogenetic inference and detailed information on social behavior in many critical taxa. Recent studies have changed our understanding of these bee groups in profound ways. It has become apparent that forms of social organization, caste determination, and sex allocation are more labile and complex than previously thought, although the terminologies for describing them are still inadequate. Furthermore, the unexpected complexity means that many key parameters in kin selection and reproductive skew models remain unquantified, and addressing this lack of information will be formidable. At the same time, phylogenetic questions have become more tractable, and DNA sequence-based studies have resolved questions that earlier studies could not resolve, radically changing our understanding of the number of origins and losses of sociality in these bees.

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